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e3 2015

19 New Details Fans Need To Know About Fallout 4

by Matt Bertz on Jun 17, 2015 at 03:05 PM

Over the course of two Bethesda-hosted panel discussions and a conversation with game director Todd Howard, we gathered new intel on the highly anticipated return of Fallout. Read more to learn about how some of the game systems are evolving for the trip to irradiated Boston millions of PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 gamers will be making come November 10.

  • Fallout 4 is the most detailed, dense environment Bethesda has made to date. The world has so much content even game director Todd Howard hasn't seen everything in the game. 
  • The extra graphical horsepower provided by the new console gave the team a tech backbone to iterate on its Creation engine and add more dynamic details. Physics-based rendering and volumetric lighting help create more atmosphere in the world, opening the game up to more environmental storytelling.
  • Fallout 4's narrative has a lot more branching paths and overlapping of "if that than this" than Fallout 3. They want the game to handle all the fail states of missions instead of forcing players to reload saves.
  • Boston and its surrounding regions offer more varied, vivid colors than Fallout 3, though the color palate still relies heavily on grays and browns in the blast zone where the nuke was detonated.
  • Fallout 4 has a full weather system that sends radiation storms across the world.  
  • Bethesda has always valued player freedom above storytelling, but with Fallout 4 the team wants to bring more emotional resonance to the plot thread running through the game. This is why they chose to recruit voice actors for both the female and male protagonists the player can make their own. 
  • Combat is receiving a major stimpak thanks to some consulting with id Software to improve the second-to-second shooting. Bethesda's goal? To have the shooting stand shoulder to shoulder with the other great options on the market. The studio even hired away some Bungie talent to help with this remodel. With the new, built-from-scratch shooting system, Howard says Fallout 4 plays much more like a modern shooter. You can aim down the sights, use V.A.T.S., and play in first or third person. 
  • V.A.T.S. has received some slight overhauls. It no longer completely pauses the action, and critical shots are no longer random. If you look at the videos, you'll notice a "critical" bar on the bottom of the screen that the player fills. Once it is fully filled you can decide when to use it. Your luck skill determines how fast the bar increases, and there are perks that dig into how criticals work and how you use them.

  • Bethesda is tweaking the way auto-scaling works for Fallout 4 to create more challenge. "We call it rubberbanding; we'll have an area [where enemies scale from] level 5 to 10, and then this area will be level 30 and above," Howard says. "You'll run into stuff that will crush you, and you will have to run away."
  • Bethesda's proprietary Radient A.I. and story system are also being used for your settlements to drive random encounters. It will determine if someone should be sent to your town, if raiders should attack the settlement or abduct your caravan, etc.
  • People will come to your settlement on their own but there are also others you can recruit.
  • A list of your settlements will appear in your PipBoy. You can send caravans between the various bases to get your supplies where you want them to be.
  • As you could see in the trailer, Fallout 4 introduces new modes of transportation in the form of the gunship, but Howard says they aren't doing cars or anything as well.
  • The workshop system is quite deep for weapons crafting.You can mix and match everything from scopes, muzzles, barrels, stocks, grips, and more. You can also scrap old weapons and use their parts for furthering the creation of your master weapon.
  • All the junk in the world you collect can now be used to build up your settlement and customize your weapons rather than be sold off. Because of these additional uses, Howard says he's noticed more playtesters hoarding items for customization rather than selling it off to merchants.
  • Companions have always played a role in Fallout games, and that exends into the new game as well. So far Bethesda has only shown off your trusty canine Dogmeat (who Howard confirmed will not be killed off in a cruel fashion) but expect to see several others as well. 
  • The mod community has always been strong with Bethesda games. With Fallout 4 their creative ideas will reach beyond PC and into consoles. Modding tools are expected to become available on PC in early 2016, with Xbox One owners getting access to their creations shortly thereafter. Once the modding is thriving on these two platforms, Bethesda hopes to work on extending this content to PlayStation 4 as well, but Howard wasn't comfortable putting a timetable on that.
  • Howard says Bethesda has been advocating to get mods on Microsoft consoles since 2001. Its hope is to not curate the content much at all but have its ecosystem stay as close to the PC experience as possible. 
  • When you play a modded version, the game will make a copy of your save file so your pure state game will be preserved.

Products In This Article

Fallout 4cover

Fallout 4

PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date:
November 10, 2015 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC), 
April 25, 2024 (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S)